The Long Breakup: Looking back at the fall of the Soviet Union

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Twenty years ago, the Soviet Union came to an end. It was a drawn-out and difficult journey, full of passion, hope, anger, betrayal and re-awakening.

Between now and the end of the year, The Post will track the major developments, in real time, of the last six months of the U.S.S.R. With the benefit of hindsight, it's possible to see harbingers of the future: Russians alarmed by the sudden visibility of corruption, angry Muslims occupying a government office in Dagestan, disdain for democracy and fear of disorder.

Moscow correspondents Kathy Lally and Will Englund were there that year as witnesses. Now, together with readers, they will relive that dramatic moment of history.

Timeline: Key events in the collapse

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GRAPHIC: Greg Linch - The Washington Post. Published Aug. 18, 2011.